Professor Robert Service


Robert Service joined the College in October 1998, later becoming Professor of Russian History. He was elected to an Emeritus Fellowship at St Antony’s in January 2014 and remains a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

His Cambridge undergraduate degree was in Russian and ancient Greek; he switched to politics at Essex for master’s studies before opting for research in Soviet history. He studied in Leningrad on an exchange scholarship. His doctorate was on the organisational transformation of the Bolshevik party as a whole between 1917 and 1923. His first appointments were at Keele University and the London School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

His books and articles, dealing mainly with Russian history from the late nineteenth century to the present day, cover economic, social and cultural as well as political aspects. He accompanies this with work on contemporary Russia.   

His Trotsky won the Duff Cooper prize. He has been a British Academy fellow since 1998. He writes for the newspapers and broadcasts in both the UK and the USA; he served as an expert witness in the Berezovsky-Abramovich trial and at the Litvinenko inquiry in London. He enjoys hill-walking, singing and strumming. His latest book is Blood on the Snow: The Russian Revolution, 1914-1924. He is currently writing on the emergence of the new Russia from the debris of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991.

Selected Publications: 

The Bolshevik Party in Revolution: A Study in Organisational Change (1979), Lenin: A Political Life (in three volumes: 1985, 1991 and 1995), The Russian Revolution, 1900-1927 (1986; fourth, revised edition, 2009), A History of Twentieth Century Russia (1997; fourth, expanded edition – A History of Modern Russia: From Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century – 2015), Lenin: A Biography(2000), Russia: Experiment with a People, From 1991 to the Present (2002), Stalin: A Biography (2004), Comrades. Communism: A World History (2007), Trotsky: A Biography (2009), Spies and Commissars (2011) The End of the Cold War, 1985-1991 (2015), The Last of the Tsars:  Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution (2017) and Russia and Its Islamic World, From the Mongol Conquest to the Syrian Intervention (2017); Kremlin Winter: Russia and the Second Coming of Vladimir Putin (2020).